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A Concise History of Economic Thought: From Mercantilism to by Gianni Vaggi

By Gianni Vaggi

This quantity offers a quick background of financial thought from the 17th century to the current day. each one bankruptcy examines the main contributions of an incredible economist, or team of economists, and concludes with short feedback for extra studying. The economists coated comprise Keynes, Marshall, Petty and Jevons, in addition to much less widely used theorists akin to Galiani and Turgot.

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O. Appleby, Economic Thought and Ideology in Seventeenth-Century England (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1978) provides a useful guide to the economic debates of the late seventeen century both in support of, and against mercantilist practices, and includes a discussion of the role played by John Locke. Both North and Locke receive a chapter each in W. Letwin, The Origins of Scientific Economics: English Economic Thought, 1660–1776 (Methuen, London, 1964). R. McCulloch, Early English Tracts on Commerce (Political Economy Club, London, reprinted by Cambridge University Press in 1954).

It depends on permanent causes, or long run forces, which Petty identified mainly within the conditions of production of a commodity. Petty, Division of Labour and Surplus 33 Petty related value to the production process and to the costs and difficulties incurred in the production of a commodity, but he offered alternative measures of these costs. Sometimes he seemed to support the labour theory of value. For example, he compared the relative price of the silver produced in Peru with that of the silver produced in European mines, the former being much lower.

Nevertheless, the mercantilists gave a tremendous impetus to sever economics from the purely ethical and normative approach of medieval times. Facts, figures, calculations began to enter economic discourse. Mercantilism as a major system of thought disappeared after the harsh treatment it received in Book IV of Smith’s Wealth of Nations in 1776, but its great merit is to have singled out the fundamental object of economics: the analysis of the causes of the wealth of nations. Many of its policy views have prevailed since then in parts of the world, and continue to prevail.

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